When George Mason and American get together on a soccer field, you can almost always count on a defensive gem. Few mistakes, few clear shots on net and few goals.
One of the area's best rivalries went according to plan for the first 64 minutes yesterday. The Patriots then took advantage of two openings in American's defense and claimed a 2-0 victory in a Colonial Athletic Association match in Fairfax.
James Madison's 2-0 victory over William and Mary last night gave George Mason (12-4-3, 6-1 in the CAA) the regular season conference title and top seed in the tournament. The Patriots will play No. 8 East Carolina (0-7) in a first-round game Thursday.
James Madison (6-1) is seeded second, William and Mary (5-2) is third seed. American (1-5-1), which fell to 11-8-1 overall, is seventh.
The CAA champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Senior defender Ian Carter scored in the 65th minute and senior forward Larry Tabash got his team-high eighth goal with 7:02 left to give the Patriots their second straight victory.
"We were the better team really, on this day," Patriots Coach Gordon Bradley said.
George Mason's solid defense yielded only three shots and freshman goalkeeper Ricardo Leite did not have to make a difficult save.
"We had our share of possessions in their third of the field, but we simply couldn't do anything with it," said Eagles Coach Pete Mehlert. "We don't have the technical skill to hold it in. We lacked the composure up front against a quality team."
Seton Hall 2, Georgetown 0: George Nazario scored in the first half and John Silva scored in the second to lift Seton Hall to a Big East victory in South Orange, N.J.
Georgetown (10-9, 4-4) had several opportunities to score but most of the Hoyas' shots were either repulsed by Seton Hall goalie Ray Purdon (four saves) or just missed the mouth of the goal.
Seton Hall is 9-6-1, 6-2-0.
GW 3, St. Bonaventure 0: Gary Walker scored two goals and Andrew Morrison added a goal and an assist in Olean, N.Y., as George Washington clinched a berth in next weekend's four-team Atlantic-10 conference tournament.
The Colonials improved to 8-6-5, 4-1-3. St. Bonaventure is 1-16, 0-9.